More than a decade after Cartoon Network‘s Justice League turned off the Watchtower’s lights for good, the voice talents behind the super group held a reunion at New York Comic Con. Joined by Casting Director Andrea Romano, JL cast members in attendance included Carl Lumbly (Martian Manhunter), George Newbern (Superman), Phil LaMarr, (Green Lantern), Maria Canals-Berrera (Hawkgirl), Susan Eisenberg (Wonder Woman) and Kevin Conroy (Batman).
The cast performed three memorable moments from the series, with Conroy serenading the audience with his rendition of “Am I Blue?,” the same song he performed in the fan-favorite episode, “This Little Piggy.”
Discussing the origins of the show, Romano recalled that Bruce Timm, creator of “Batman: The Animated Series,” approached her with the task of assembling talent for the series. The two had previously worked together, but their shows did not involve such a large group of lead voice actors. She had to cast all of the heroes individually, but with the greater League in mind. “Each one by itself is daunting, then to have the whole group is terrifying,” Romano said. They found “people that sounded good individually and good as a team.”
Romano wanted voices that fit the parts, not necessarily actors that had long resumes. As such, she was “looking for interesting, wonderful actors who maybe didn’t have as much as experience.”
LaMarr recounted his particularly harrowing experience in the casting process. “Do you remember the day that I auditioned?” he asked Romano. “The person that went in ahead of me for John was Dennis Haysbert (“24,” “The Unit”),” he said. “No pressure.”
One thing that contributed to the show’s success was that the actors were able to find similarities between themselves and their characters. Lumbly, for example, imagined Martian Manhunter as an alien taken away from his homeland and transplanted to a new world. As a person born outside of the United States, Lumbly could relate to the character.
The series also counted Conroy among its cast, reprising his previous turns as the Dark Knight. “Up until then, I had been the superhero,” said Conroy of the transition from “Batman: The Animated Series” to “Justice League.” “Suddenly in ‘Justice League.’ I’m one of several — and I was the only one without superpowers!” Conroy was more than happy to continue with the character, which is one he admires greatly. “The lesson of Batman is to be a better person.”
Romano and the cast also praised the show’s writers, in partciular the late Dwayne McDuffie, with LaMarr recalling how McDuffie had a habit of sneaking easter eggs and obscure references into scripts.
The first reenactment by the cast was the script from the first episode of the animated series “Secret Origins” Part 2, the first time that the full cast was assembled on screen. The actors didn’t miss a beat, delighting the audience.
They also re-created a short segment of the oddball episode “This Little Piggy.” In it, Wonder Woman is transformed into a pig, and Batman must sing to help lift the curse and transform her back into human shape. Conroy belted out “Am I Blue?” and after the applause died down, he took a break — then began singing again.
The cast also read from the final episode of the series before acting out a joke reunion, just for the panel. As Batman, Conroy said, “Diana, I see you smiling over there, I certainly hoped you’ve enjoyed this get together.” Meanwhile, Batman is informed that villains are escaping from Arkham. Rather than race off into the night, however, Batman — and Conroy — opted to remain at the reunion and bask in the limelight.
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